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Whiling filing form for applying PAN and Passport people have a problem filling First Name, Middle Name and Surname if their name has initials. This article looks at the Instructions for Filing PAN, Passport. It then looks at the naming conventions in different parts of India.

Though William Shakespear had said Whatis in a name?” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is the play Romeo and Juliet, for official purposes it is better to have one name across all your official documents like PAN, Aadhaar, Passport etc.

Filing Name in form for Applying PAN

PAN or permanent account number, is a unique 10-digit alphanumeric identity, in the form of a laminated card, allotted to each taxpayer by the Income Tax Department. It enables the department to link all financial transactions of the person with the department. PAN cards are issued by the I-T department, but the front-end of the process has been outsourced to UTI Technology Services Ltd and the National Securities Depository Ltd(NSDL) since July 2003. One can apply for PAN either online i.e. through internet or offline. Our article What is PAN Card ? discusses it in detail. What is PAN Card ? discusses it in detail.

Instructions for filing the name are

  • Please select an appropriate title.
  • Do not use abbreviations in the First and the Last name/Surname.
  • A PAN Card cannot have any name(first name, middle name or family name) exceeding 25 characters. There are 25 boxes for each name in the printed form.
  • For Parents Name, rules for name to be followed are same as Individual’s name
    • Father’s Name: It is mandatory for Individual applicants to provide father’s name. Married woman applicant should also give father’s name and not husband’s name.
    • Mother’s Name: This is an optional field.
    • The appropriate flag should be selected to indicate the name (out of the father’s name and mother’s given in the form) to be printed on the PAN card. If no option is selected, then father’s name is considered for printing on the PAN card.

To get the PAN card with a single name. You have to write your name in the place of Surname and leave first and middle name blank.

‘First Word’ of his name will be the ‘First Name’ of the applicant but a single alphabet and two alphabets (except above 90) as ‘First Name’ are not allowed. For Example – An individual has the name ‘Kailash Chandra Rambilas Maheshwari’. In that case, First Name will be only ‘Kailash’ and not the ‘Kailash Chandra’. Likely, if the applicant has the name “K. C. Maheshwari, then ‘K’ as first name will not be allowed.

How to fill names in PAN Card

How to fill names in PAN Card

Name in Passport

An Indian passport is a passport issued by the Government of India to citizens of the Republic of India for travelling abroad. It enables the bearer to travel internationally and serves as proof of Indian citizenship as per the Passports Act (1967).

The name up to 75 characters long name can be given and filled in the form. Reference

  • No initials should be written, they should be expanded.
  • No honorifics, titles such as Major, Doctor etc should be written.
  • Surname could have two words like Roy Choudhary or Das Gupta.

In case you do not have a surname, just write the given name. Some Embassies (Embassy of U.S.A., etc.) insist on surname for the issue of visa. Empty (or blank) Surname in Passport equals TROUBLE.

The full name as it should appear in the Passport should be furnished here.

  • For example, for name: ADITYA NAGENGRANATH GOGOI Write the Surname as “GOGOI” in the boxes provided for Surname and put a comma and write “ADITYA NAGENGRANATH” as the Given name in the rest of the columns.
  • For instance, if you have filled in your surname as J A I N and your given name as P I Y U S H K U M A R , the same will appear on your passport as:  Surname: JAIN Given Name: PIYUSH KUMAR

Name in Aadhar

Aadhaar is becoming an important document to have. It is needed almost everywhere. Our article What is Aadhaar, How to enrol,Check Aadhaar status,Download e Aadhaar talks about how to get Aadhaar.

Aadhar takes the name with initials. All it requires is Proof of Identity which can be any of the documents

Name in Aadhaar Proof of Identity

Name in Aadhaar Proof of Identity

How should you have name in PAN, Aadhaar, Passport

Try to stick to one name and use it same across all your official documents. If you have First Name and Surname then life is simple. If you have the name with initials then you need to choose.

For Raman M V which can be extended to Raman Murli Vishwakarma usually following combinations might be in Birth Certificate, College Marksheets: Raman MV, MV Raman , Raman V (or Murli Raman Vishwakarma )

Name in Passport can have following three combinations.

  • Combination 1:
    • Given Name – Raman
    • Middle Name – Murli
    • Surname – Vishwakarma
  • Combination 2:
    • Given Name – Raman Murli
    • Middle Name – Empty
    • Surname – Vishwakarma
  • Combination 3: Of all the above 3 possibilities, this one is the most problematic. As long as you have Surname in your passport, you will not have MAJOR problems if planning to study abroad especially in the US. If there is no surname in your passport, stop right here and get your name changes in your passport first before going forward with any application or study abroad process.
    • Given Name – Raman M V
    • Middle Name – Empty
    • Surname – Empty

Indian Names in different regions

Indian names are based on a variety of systems and naming conventions, which vary from region to region. Names are also influenced by religion and caste and may come from epics.   Confusions and complications arise when we are asked to fill in various official forms in our country – first name, middle name, last name, surname, This makes for subtle, often confusing, differences in names and naming styles. For example, the concept of a family name does not exist widely in Tamil Nadu.

For some Indians, their birth name is different from their official name; the birth name starts with a letter auspicious on the basis of the person’s horoscope (based on the nakshatra or lunar mansion corresponding to the person’s birth). Reference Wikipedia Indian name

In the northern states, the full name would be the given name followed by the family name. For example, a child born to Kapoor family is given the name Ranbir, then his full name would be Ranbir Kapoor.

In the western states, like Gujrat and Maharashtra, father’s given name is also added to child’s name. For example, Jigar, son of Manohar, belonging to Joshi family would be called Jigar Manohar Joshi or Jigar M. Joshi. Interestingly the family name can be traced back to the early Aryan and Dravidian tribal settlers created to demarcate professions and divisions. For example, Joshi in the above example belongs to the early astrologer community. Iyengar is a subdivision of the Brahim class who worship Vishnu.

The family names of Telugu’s precede the given name and are mostly abbreviated. For example, the name Kambham Nagarjuna Rao would be abbreviated as K.N. Rao. In this name, Nagarjuna Rao is the given name, and Kambham would be the family name (surname).

Bengali Hindu names have the format of given name, middle name, and family name. In casual conversation, people may omit middle names. The middle name is not the father’s name.  Ex  Subhas Chandra Bose or Rabindra Nath Tagore.

Kashmiri names often have the following format: given name, middle name (optional), family name. For example Jawahar Lal Nehru

In Karnataka, naming is usually done in this pattern: Village name, Given Name, Title/Surname or Given Name, Father’s name, Title/Surname

In Kerala, names have the format: Family/House name (optional), father’s name, given name. E.g.: A K Antony: Arackaparambil (House Name) Kurian Pillai (Father’s Name with a title) Antony (First Name). Another practice observed is where spouses and children take on the first name of the father as their last or surname.

In Kerela in the Malabar region the format followed is: Family name, Given name, Caste/title name (if applicable). Therefore, Kannott Karunakaran Marar, can be interpreted as Karunakaran of the Marar caste from the Kannoth family.

Punjabi names often have the following format: given name, middle name (optional), family name. For example: Harmanpreet Singh Mattu

In Tamil Nadu, Names follow this pattern: Initial (Village name), Initial (Father’s name), Given Name, Caste name Example: E.V. Ramasamy Naicker, where E stands for Erode, and V stands for the father’s name. There is a widespread usage of a patronym (use of the father’s given name as the second name).  This means that the given name of one generation becomes the second name of the next. In many cases, the father’s name appears as an initial and thus the given name may be presented as a second name. When written in full , for example, on a passport, the initial is expanded as the last name. For example, a name like R. Ramesh or Ramesh R., will be written in full as Ramesh Ramaiah, and refers to Ramesh son of Ramaiah. If Ramesh then has a son named Ashvin, then his name would be R. Ashwin or Ashwin Ramesh. For example; G. Venkatesan, Venkatesan G, or Venkatesan Govindarajan, are different ways in which a person with a given name Venkatesan, whose father’s given name is Govindarajan can refer to himself. And when Venkatesan has a child, say the child has a name Murugan, it will become V. Murugan

There is also a general custom for Tamil women to adopt their husband’s given name as their second name. Sunitha Saravanan (Sunitha daughter of Saravanan) might change her name to Sunitha Ram Kumar (Sunitha wife of Ram Kumar) after marriage. However, these customs vary from family to family

People who do not understand the Tamil naming protocol sometimes expand the initials in an incorrect manner. For example, the name P. Chidambaram, tends to be expanded to Palaniyappan Chidambaram, which is incorrect in the sense that it implies that the person’s given name is “Palaniyappan”, and the family name is “Chidambaram”. In fact, the person’s only name is “Chidambaram”, with an initial of “P”. Other such famous misrepresentations include the chess grandmaster, V. Anand wrongly expanded as Vishwanathan Anand cricketer, L. Sivaramakrishnan Laxman is his father’s name and the freedom fighter and statesman, C. Rajagopalachari often cited as Chakravarty Rajagopalachari. On the other hand, north India media refers to Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss (son of Dr. Ramadoss) often simply as Dr Ramadoss, which again is incorrect as Ramadoss is his father’s name and not his name.

The Tamil Nadu government had been taken many efforts to wipe out the caste system in the past. Social reformer E.V.R. Periyar had launched Suya Mariyathai Iyakkam for the task. He called for not using caste names as surnames during his birth centenary celebration in 1979-80.  CM M.G. Ramachandran had also ordered the removal of caste names tagged to street names. There has been no use of surnames with ‘casteist’ connotations for almost 50–60 years.

How South Indians name their child

How South Indians name their child

Women name and marriage

For women, the system of family name/surname/initials is slightly different. Before marriage, a girl uses her father’s family name or initial, but after marriage, she may choose to use her husband’s family name or initial. Of late the trend has changed and many women, especially those employed, do not change the initials but continue with their father’s family name or initials. This is mainly for convenience since school degree and career papers have the woman’s father’s initials on them. Changing a name legally is a cumbersome procedure, including announcing the proposed change in a newspaper and getting it published in an official gazette. They have to change all their names on their passports, bank accounts, driving licence, etc. The modern trend is to add the husband’s name/family name at the end, like some Western women who add their husband’s name with a hyphen.

In India, not only are women automatically expected to adopt their husband’s surname when they get married, but in some communities, as in Maharashtra, they are also expected to change their first names. As a result, once married, their identity changes completely. It is almost as if getting married also means wiping off your previous identity and completely subsuming yourself in one chosen by your husband and his family.

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